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Fuse invites applications for cohort 5

Fuse, Allen & Overy’s collaborative tech innovation hub, is inviting companies to apply for a space in its fifth cohort.

Both early stage and more mature companies are invited to apply from 25 January 2021 and applicants will be asked to describe the problems they solve, their team and what assistance they are seeking from A&O. Applications are expected to close in early February, with a formal selection day to follow in March. Successful companies will be invited to join Fuse from April.

While cohort 4 ran digitally, 2021 will hopefully see a hybrid solution, maintaining the best of physical and virtual collaboration whilst continuing to foster a community of change. During the previous cohort, Fuse enjoyed a number of successes, including the entry by LMA.Automate (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Loan Market Association) into a collaboration with Allen & Overy and Fuse cohort member Avvoka, to establish a documentation automation platform in respect of certain LMA documents. In addition, Fuse resident Secretarium won a UK Research & Innovation grant to enable privacy-preserving collaboration on Covid-19 data.

Following on from the success of the FinTech stream which debuted in cohort 4, Fuse will once again work with a select group of financial sector clients to nominate certain companies to join the next cohort. This collaboration will allow FinTechs to access A&O lawyers’ knowledge of the financial markets, resources and broader network and, in turn, enable the A&O to develop a deeper understanding of the FinTech and their client’s financial services and digital transformation strategy.

This is a unique opportunity for technology start-ups, scale-ups or more mature companies to develop and pilot their products.

Shruti Ajitsaria, Partner and Head of Fuse

Shruti Ajitsaria, Partner and Head of Fuse, said: "A&O is committed to investing in the future and we are proud of our culture for driving digital innovation in the legal sector. Fuse has been central to our success, enabling our lawyers to gain hands-on experience of emerging technology and our clients to consider possible applications for their business.

“This is a unique opportunity for technology start-ups, scale-ups or more mature companies to develop and pilot their products. Successful applicants will have unrivalled access to the expertise of A&O lawyers, technologists and our global client base as they work together to deliver practical solutions to the challenges faced by companies, financial institutions and law firms today.”

Speaking about his experience of working in Fuse, Tim Follett, CEO and Founder of StructureFlow, who joined Fuse in cohort 4, commented: “A&O has a very impressive approach to innovation and there has been a meeting of minds between us. We were keen to be part of Fuse to have the opportunity to really develop and grow our product through access to lawyers and getting direct feedback on how our software can best serve their needs. Being part of a virtual cohort has been a very positive experience for us and the support that we have received from Fuse has been invaluable.”

Nnamdi Emelifeonwu, founder of cohort member Define, added: “We joined Fuse as a very early stage start-up and since then our business has gone from strength to strength. The relationship with A&O has been really beneficial to us, from licensing our software to showcasing our product for clients and piloting with one of the firm's clients. Being in an open and collaborative environment where we have been able to get advice from other cohort members has allowed us to really mature as a company.”

Fuse, headed by Shruti Ajitsaria, brings together A&O lawyers, clients and a curated group of tech companies to explore, develop and implement digital change. Fuse was the first permanent – and still unrivalled – space of its kind in any international law firm. Since opening in September 2017, it has hosted 26 Cohort members and welcomed over 10,000 external and 10,000 internal visitors. 

Find out more about Fuse.

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